:: Change the Mind & You Can Change the Body ::
- Swami Sivananda
:: You Are Already Free. You Only Have to Know & Realize This Truth ::
- Swami Sivananda
I was in my early 20's when I found myself in a traditional Sivananda yoga class. The class was like nothing I had ever experienced before and it ignited something within me. Little did I know that signing up for that class would set the tone and lay the foundation for the next few decades of my life.
I had only been practicing for a few short months and was already so in love with the practice that I decided to commit to a 3 month long intensive yoga teacher training at a small & humble yoga studio in Lake Worth, Florida. That studio was known as Yoga & Inner Peace.
Looking back at this time in my life makes me smile and fills me with so much gratitude. It's now been 20 years since I completed my training and became a teacher of yoga. I can honestly say that it was the best decision I had ever made and since then, my life has never been the same.
I'm not sure where I would be without yoga and nor do I want to go down that road because yoga saved my life and changed me for the better. The practice and its teachings continue to inspire me every single day.
A Traditional Sivananda Yoga Class
What to Expect
Taking a traditional Sivananda class is like traveling to a different country at an earlier time and is unlike any other. It has been practiced for many years and was one of the first styles of yoga brought to the United States from India in 1957. The physical aspect of the practice (poses/asanas) revolves around the same 12 basic postures in each class, including frequent relaxation & deep yogic breathing during and between each pose.
What to Expect:
An Open Class is a traditional, slow paced, meditative class that helps encourage proper breathing, flexibility, strength and vitality in the body while calming the mind. Because Yoga is a spiritual system with a physical component, this non-competitive approach helps the practitioner gain much more than just a healthy body.
A typical open level class includes pranayama (breathing exercises), warm-ups including Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), 12 basic asanas (postures) and deep relaxation. The focus is on mastering the basic asanas from which variations are then added to further deepen the practice. The asanas follow an exact order that allows for the systematic movement of every major part of the body in a balanced way that enhances prana or life force energy, keeping the mind quiet and without the need to think beyond each individual pose. Additional variations may also be taught.
Sivananda Yoga is a spiritual system founded by Swami Sivananda and refined by his disciple, Vishnu Devananda; it includes the use of asanas (physical postures) but is not limited to them as in systems of yoga as exercise. This yogic system equally emphasizes Pranayama (breathwork), relaxation, a svattic (vegetarian/non-stimulating) diet, vedanta philosophy, and meditation. Vedanta philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge into the Brahman (the absolute) and the Ātman.
The Brahman Atman is the Absolute Reality of existence. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Godhead. Brahman cannot be described. It can only be experienced. So when we say, “Atman is Brahman,” we're saying that the individual soul is the same as the universal soul
Swami Sivananda & Vishnu Devananda
Native to India, Swami Sivananda practiced as a medical doctor for many years before renouncing worldly life. He devoted himself to serving humanity through yoga until his death in 1963. While alive, he authored over 300 spiritual texts that still provide guidance to millions of seekers around the world and earned him the title of a spiritual teacher and saint of modern times.
Six years before he left his body, Sivananda sent his devoted student, Vishnu Devananda, to the west to spread his ideals of yoga. His philosophy was grounded in five basic principles that aimed to ensure that the body retains its vitality over the years, thereby lowering the risk of disease when followed consistently.
proper exercise (12 basic asanas or postures)
proper breathing (pranayama)
proper relaxation (savasana)
proper diet and
positive thinking & meditation
Vishnu Devananda established the first yoga teachers' training courses in the west, set up yoga centers and ashrams throughout the world, and is recognized and remembered as a "pioneering world authority on hatha and raja yoga." He dedicated his life's work to the teachings of his guru, Sivananda, and contributed immensely to his legacy of love, peace, and knowledge.